9 Different Types of Keywords in SEO

9 Different Types of Keywords in SEO

Different Types of Keywords in SEO

There are several different types of keywords in SEO. From broad and long-tail keywords to geo-specific and branded keywords, each type of keyword can play an important role in the overall SEO strategy of your website. The more you understand the differences, the more efficient the keyword research process becomes.

Keywords in SEO are like keys that unlock the potential of online visibility and user engagement.

They are the foundation of any successful SEO strategy, guiding both users and search engines to your content. However, not all keywords are created equal, and knowing the right type to use can make a significant difference in your SEO efforts.

In this article, we’re taking a closer look at the different types of keywords in SEO.

The Different Types of Keywords in SEO

Navigating the world of SEO can be complex, especially when it comes to understanding the various types of keywords and their impact on your strategy. If you’re

You can spend a lot of time with keyword research. In fact, it can seem endless if you don’t have direction. The more you understand the different types of keywords in SEO, the more efficiently you will be able to discover the keywords that align with the goal of your website.

From broad keywords and long-tail keywords to geo-specific keywords and branded keywords, each type plays a unique role in driving traffic and engagement.

Here’s an overview of the different types of keywords in SEO.

1. Broad Keywords

Broad keywords are general, short phrases with a high search volume and broad appeal.

They typically consist of one or two words and cover a wide range of topics under a single term. Due to their generic nature, broad keywords are highly competitive and often attract a diverse audience with varying intents. While they can drive significant traffic, this traffic may not always be the most targeted, leading to lower conversion rates.

A broad keyword like “shoes” is super-generic. It can attract anyone interested in shoes, regardless of the type, brand, style, or purpose. Someone searching for “shoes” might be looking for running shoes, high heels, shoe repair services, or even shoe storage solutions. The broadness of the term makes it challenging to cater specifically to the searcher’s intent.

2. Primary Keywords

Primary keywords are the main focus keywords for a specific page or piece of content.

They are chosen based on their direct relevance to the content’s topic and are usually the terms with the highest search volume related to that subject.

Primary keywords help search engines understand the main focus of your content and play a crucial role in determining the page’s ranking. They are typically more specific than broad keywords but still have a considerable search volume.

For a blog post about healthy eating habits, “healthy eating” could be the primary keyword. These are often pretty broad compared to long-tail keywords and reflect the eventual goal. With that said, not everything is black and white in keyword research. A specific, long-tail keyword that’s also geo-specific can be considered a primary keyword – it all depends on your goals for your website.

Unlike other keywords, which are defined by search intent, location, or other characteristics, a primary keyword is something you set.

3. Secondary Keywords

Secondary keywords are related to the primary keywords but are usually less competitive.

They provide additional context and support to the main topic, helping to capture a broader range of search queries. Using secondary keywords can enhance SEO by targeting various aspects or subtopics related to the primary keyword, thus improving the overall depth and reach of the content.

In an article with the primary keyword “healthy eating,” secondary keywords might include “nutritious recipes,” “dietary tips,” and “balanced meals.”

These terms are related to the main topic but focus on specific aspects of healthy eating, offering a more comprehensive coverage of the subject.

4. Long-Tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords are phrases that are more specific and usually longer than other types of keywords, often containing three or more words.

They have lower search volumes, but they are less competitive and typically have higher conversion rates. Long-tail keywords are valuable for targeting niche demographics and addressing specific user queries.

Due to their specificity, they are highly effective in matching user intent and attracting a targeted audience.

If the broad keyword is “gardening tools,” a long-tail keyword could be “stainless steel gardening tools for beginners.” This long-tail keyword targets a specific subset of users – beginners interested in stainless steel tools – and is more likely to attract visitors who are precisely looking for this type of product, leading to higher chances of conversion.

5. NLP Keywords

NLP (Natural Language Processing) keywords are terms that enhance the contextual understanding of content for search engines.

They are related to the primary keyword but add depth and context, aiding search engines in comprehending the nuances and relevance of the content. NLP keywords go beyond mere synonyms, encompassing related concepts, entities, and attributes.

They are essential for modern SEO, as search engines increasingly rely on NLP to interpret and deliver relevant search results.

For content focused on “coffee brewing techniques,” NLP keywords could include “grind size,” “brewing temperature,” “arabica beans,” and “pour-over method.” These terms provide context and depth, helping search engines understand the content’s comprehensive focus on coffee brewing, beyond the primary keyword.

6. Geo-targeted Keywords

Geo-targeted keywords are phrases that include specific geographic locations. They are crucial for local SEO strategies, helping businesses attract traffic from users in a particular area.

These keywords are particularly beneficial for businesses with physical locations or those serving specific geographic regions. By incorporating geographic terms, businesses can more effectively reach local audiences and appear in location-specific search results.

A bakery in New York City might use geo-targeted keywords like “fresh croissants in Manhattan” or “best bakery in NYC.” These keywords target users who are searching for bakeries specifically in Manhattan or New York City, making the content relevant for a local audience seeking those services in that area.

7. Intent-based Keywords

Intent-based keywords are categorized based on the searcher’s intent, helping content creators and marketers align their content with user needs and expectations.

By understanding and targeting these intent-based keywords, businesses can create more relevant and effective content, ads, and product listings.

These keywords fall into four main categories:


Informational keywords are used by searchers looking for information or answers to questions. These keywords are crucial for building brand authority and trust by providing valuable content to the audience. They often start with “how,” “what,” “why,” or “when.” Targeting informational keywords is beneficial for attracting users in the research phase, potentially leading them down the conversion funnel.

For example, “How to tie a tie” – Users searching for this are seeking guidance or knowledge, not directly looking to purchase a tie.


Navigational keywords are used when a searcher is looking for a specific website or page. They usually include brand names or specific product names. By optimizing for navigational keywords, brands can capture traffic from users already aware of them but unsure of how to find their websites.

Example: “Facebook login” – This implies the user knows where they want to go (Facebook) and are using the search engine to navigate there.


Transactional keywords indicate a readiness to complete a purchase or engage in a specific transaction. Users using these keywords are typically at the bottom of the sales funnel. Optimizing for transactional keywords can drive sales and conversions, as it targets users with a clear intent to buy or sign up.

Example: “Buy noise-canceling headphones online” – This shows the user’s intent to purchase headphones.


Commercial keywords (sometimes called “commercial investigation keywords”) are used by searchers who are considering a purchase and are looking to compare products or read reviews. These keywords are valuable for targeting users in the decision-making phase, offering them the information needed to make a purchase decision.

Example: “Best smartphones 2023” – Users are likely comparing different smartphones to make an informed purchase.

8. Branded Keywords

Branded keywords include the name of a specific brand or product.

They are used by searchers who are already familiar with a brand or are interested in a specific product from that brand.

Optimizing for branded keywords is crucial for businesses as it allows them to capture high-intent traffic – users searching for these terms are often in the later stages of the buying process or are looking for specific information related to the brand.

For example, the keyword “Nike running shoes” targets users specifically interested in running shoes offered by Nike. Users searching for branded keywords like this are likely closer to a purchase decision, having already decided on the brand.

9. Non-Branded Keywords

Non-branded keywords are terms that do not include any brand names.

They are generally broader and are often used by people who are in the earlier stages of the buying process. These keywords are crucial for attracting top-of-the-funnel users who are not yet brand-conscious or are still exploring their options.

By targeting non-branded keywords, businesses can increase their visibility among a wider audience, potentially capturing interest before brand preferences are firmly established.

For example, the keyword “waterproof hiking boots” is a non-branded keyword targeting users looking for hiking boots without specifying a brand. Users searching for these types of keywords are typically gathering information and considering their options, presenting an opportunity for brands to introduce themselves to potential customers.

Need Help with Your Keyword Research?

Are you feeling overwhelmed by the complexities of keyword research? Consider working with a professional SEO expert.

With their expertise, you can unlock the full potential of your SEO strategy, ensuring your content not only reaches but resonates with your target audience. A professional can provide tailored advice, detailed keyword analysis, and strategic planning that aligns with your business goals.


Understanding the different types of keywords in SEO is crucial for creating a successful online strategy.

Each type serves a unique purpose, from broad keywords attracting a wide audience to long-tail keywords driving specific, high-conversion traffic. By incorporating a mix of these keywords into your content and SEO practices, you can significantly enhance your site’s visibility, relevance, and engagement with your target audience.

Remember, the right keywords are the building blocks of effective SEO, opening doors to digital success.

Written by
Chris Rice